Star Trek Hunter
Episode 20: Survival
Scene 5: Rescue Planning
“Okay Lieutenant Commander, this is your meeting, but first, I need to ask, where is everyone?” Commander Kenny Dolphin sat down at the head of the antique teak table in the executive conference room. He had delegated the rescue planning to his 2nd officer, Lt. Cmdr. Tauk.
Dolphin had expected Tauk to involve the entire ground operations department - or at least their officers. Neither the ground operations department nor the flight operations department were represented in this room. Only two other of the U.S.S. Hunter’s crew were present - Dr. Tali Shae and Dr. Napoleon Boles.
“This is a job for two people, Kenny,” said Tauk. “We will need the tactical unit.”
“Who are you going to assign this to?” Dolphin asked.
“You,” said Tauk, “And me.”
Dolphin did not object. He deliberately shut the thousands of objections to this idea out of his mind. There was no point discussing them - Tauk had the equivalent of a Ph.D. in game theory. He had no doubt gamed out every potential objection. Dolphin waited for Tauk to explain. But it was Lt. Boles who spoke up first.
“I have provided Tauk some stimulants that can help him through this mission,” said Boles. “They will have a terrible effect on him, but they should get him through the mission.”
“Will they bring him home?” Dolphin asked.
Dr. Tali Shae answered. “You have to understand, Dolphin, there is nothing that we can to for Tauk now. The only person who can help him is Mlady. She can adjust his enzymes in ways that we cannot mimick. If you cannot find her, there is no hope for Tauk.”
“I am concerned about getting her and Pep back home,” Dolphin said.
“I have done the math, Kenny,” said Tauk. “Even assuming they have not lost any weight, the combined mass of all four of us is within tolerance of the tactical unit for recursive warp..”
“Why is the captain not at this meeting?” Dolphin asked.
Dr. Tali Shae got up, retrieved an iced tea from the replicator - handed it to Dolphin. “Because this needs to be your decision. It’s time for you to grow up and make some of the tough calls so Minerva doesn’t have as many to carry around. She has made more than enough tough calls for a lifetime and this is one that will keep you up at night. Be merciful. Let her off the hook for this one.”
For a very long, uncomfortable moment, Kenny Dolphin and Dr. Tali Shae looked into each other’s eyes.
After more than a few heartbeats, Lt. Cmdr. Tauk interrupted by clearing his throat. “Kenny, let Napoleon brief you. He and I developed this idea together. Talking has become… painful for me.”
Dolphin realized he could hear the pained wheezing of the ferengi’s breath - now assisted by a forced breather.
Tauk looked at Lt. Boles, then closed his eyes and laid his head back into the headrest on his chair.
“This plan is all about probabilities,” said Boles. “You can rely on Tauk’s numbers. I cross checked as much of his math as I could comprehend. First, we have to assume we are going to be found and there is a high probability we will be caught. There is no way the romulans failed to notice federation warp signatures after this ship has ventured twice deep into their territory. And there is no way they failed to notice federation munitions signatures after we used every photon torpedo this ship was carrying to destroy a planet deep inside romulan space - probably killing several thousand romulans in the process. And we have to assume they have intercepted the first beacon signal and will correctly interpret the next two. So the question is what do we do when they find us? They’re going to want us really, really badly.”
Dolphin looked around the room, only to find the half-bolian epidemiologist, the andorian medical director and the ferengi 2nd officer just looking back at him. He sighed. “We need two plans. The tactical unit goes on the rescue and the rest of the ship deals with the romulans. But it is so counter-intuitive. We hand over the entire crew just to rescue two officers?”
Tauk nodded slowly, his eyes still closed. “So we need a plan for the rest of the crew to deal with the romulans.”
Dolphin rapped his knuckles against the table. “I am adding another person to this meeting. Someone you should have included in your planning.”
Dr. Tali Shae held her hands up. “We need to keep this plan small for now. People talk.”
“My call,” Dolphin replied. “Hunter? Would you join us please?”
The elderly looking ship’s holographic avatar appeared, standing at the end of the table where he usually stood during presentations. “How can I assist you?”
“Take a seat, please. We need your thoughts. We need to plan against several possibilities involving the romulans and you know more about the capabilities of this ship than anyone. Do you have some counter measures for boarding parties?”
Hunter walked around the table, appearing slightly confused. He slowly drew out a chair next to Lt. Cmdr. Tauk and sat down as if he were unfamiliar with the sensation.
Dolphin smiled. “It’s high time you had a seat at this table, Hunter. I assume you are up to speed with our discussion?”
“What you probably do not know,” Hunter said, “because it has never come up - I actually come in two flavors.” A second version of Hunter appeared, this one in a simple black jumpsuit. “I usually remain on the tactical unit and I have never manifested because I never needed to,” said Hunter Tactical, pulling up a seat next to his usual incarnation. Both Hunters spoke in unison, but creating only the sound of one Hunter speaking: “We are one and the same until the tactical unit is launched.” Suddenly they were speaking, but clearly with two voices. “When the tactical unit is separated, we become separate entities and then reintegrate and become one again…” They spoke with one voice again: “...when the tactical unit is reconnected to the platform.”
Hunter Tactical spoke: “It has always taken artificial intelligence to bring the tactical unit into recursive warp just the same as the entire ship. So when you and Tauk are on the rescue mission, I will be there with you.” The black clad version of Hunter vanished.
“Anana Lynarr…” said Dr. Boles.
Hunter, Dolphin and Tali Shae just looked at him.
“Good idea,” Tauk said quietly, not opening his eyes.
“Hunter,” Boles asked, “Can you remove Anana from the crew roster and all official records - and is there a place on board you can hide her in case we get boarded?”
“Why Lynarr?” Dolphin asked.
“I should easily be able to create a false bulkhead for her to use as a hiding place,” Hunter said. “I have already deleted the records.”
“Hunter, do the same for Hugh Mann… um… that is 3rd of 5…” said Dolphin.
“Lynarr has Trantor counter-terrorism training, she’s bolian and not Star Fleet,” said Boles. “Romulans know a lot about Star Fleet tactics. Lynarr might have some tricks up her sleeve they aren’t aware of. Now we have four people to work against the romulans if they board and get to the rest of us - Hunter, Lynarr, Hugh and Dr. Raj. I will get them together for some backup planning as our last line of defense.”
“We need several layers of planning to keep it from coming to that,” Dolphin said.
“We need to plan the rescue mission as well,” said Tauk.